Bridging the Divide: The Effect of Individuating Information on Attitudes Toward Political Outgroup Members


  • Jonah Koetke
  • Beverly G. Conrique
  • Karina Schumann


Liberals and conservatives in the United States exhibit intergroup bias toward those on the other side. In three preregistered experiments (N = 1,389), we examined the bias-reducing benefits of individuating members of the political outgroup by providing people with individuating information—information that provides knowledge about them beyond their group membership, such as their social roles, emotions, and personality. Studies 1 and 2 extended work on individuating information into this domain by testing its impact on a novel political outgroup member. Study 3 broke new ground by testing whether the benefits of learning individuating information can extend to additional members of the outgroup. Each methodology revealed that, compared to those who read non-individuating controls, participants who learned individuating information about a political outgroup member were less hostile and more empathic toward that outgroup member. The current studies thus identify a promising avenue for reducing interparty hostility.